You and I are called to draw others to faith in Jesus Christ. You and I are expected to know what that faith means in our own lives and to let that faith touch the lives of others in such a way that they also will want to believe. This desire to share with others our faith in Jesus is at the heart of the teachings of our readings today.
The Prophet Jeremiah, in our first reading today, is clear that we must never mislead others, maybe this has made us not want to share our faith because of the fear of sharing incorrectly. For most of us, however, it is not this fear of sharing incorrectly that stifles our desire to share our faith, rather, it’s a lack of interest at times or a sense that religion is a truly private affair or simply that I don’t have much faith. Sometimes we point to our leaders, as in the reading from the Prophet Jeremiah. It’s their fault!
This is truly a distraction from our own faith in Jesus, certainly we want good leaders, and we need to point out bad leaders. Yet, deep within us, you and I are responsible for our faith and we must learn to live it that way.
The Letter to the Ephesians, our second reading today, reminds us that Jesus came and preached peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. Jesus preaches to all of us, not just to the leaders of religion! Jesus is calling each one of us, not just the leaders. Let’s open our ears and our hearts and respond to Him.
Mark’s Gospel today points out that even Jesus got tired of the constant crush of people. He suggests to his close followers that they go off and pray, but when they arrived at the place where they hoped to pray, the people had arrived before them. For anyone in ministry today, this scene evokes a reality that happens regularly. Just when a person thinks that he or she will have a little down time for prayer or reading or relaxing, something comes up and takes away that lovely thought and replaces it with a concrete need to minister!
Today then we want to reflect in our hearts on these realities. God calls each one of us. Some are leaders but all are called to be faithful. Following Jesus and doing His will may often take away the comfortable aspects of our lives. But we are called to respond to all who ask us, not just to those who leave us comfortable in our response. How quickly our world would change if all of us who follow Christ would preach in His name and be faithful to all that He asks of us!